As much as I would like to believe that every minority is accepted, I have come to terms that it currently that isn’t the case . Minority women from all different backgrounds deal with struggles that other people don’t frankly, even in 2020. We have Indigenous, Cis Black, Black Transgender, Muslim, and Asian women who come across battles that aren’t the norm for non-minority women. 

I get it, hearing about struggles gets a bit tiring. Especially when no one seems to be doing anything about it. Yes, we hear all the time, “well other women go through struggles too”, but what minority women face doesn’t take away from non-minority women and their struggles. It’s a fact that something so unchangeable about minority is what allows for this sort of treatment to happen to them. Their identity. 

Discussing each and every minority group is impossible, however, I implore you to look into facts and actual real-life cases with not just the groups that are being mentioned here. 

Indigenous Women

One of the most obvious mistreatment towards minority women today is with Indigenous women. Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have been deemed a genocide, however completely in my opinion, deeming it as a genocide, although has been a step in the right direction, isn’t enough. When Indigenous women go missing or are murdered, the public is not alerted. Yes, we realize that genocide is occurring but unless we frequently go out and get information for ourselves, it will never come to us. Every day cases aren’t being broadcasted, heard, or even reported, and as the days go by more and more of these girls live in fear. 

AJ+ Investigative Report

Here are some facts for you 

  • The RCMP acknowledges more than 1200 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls between 1980 and 2012
  • Indigenous women that are 15+, face 35 times more violence than non-indigenous women
  • The Stolen Sister’s movement run by Amnesty International highlights 5 main issues within Canada that resulted in the mistreatment of indigenous women
  • There is no exact number of deaths/disappearances that have occurred on the Highway of Tears (yellow head highway)

Now, what does this all mean? It means that as of now information on women who are missing/murdered is a) not readily available and b) not much of an effort is being done by the public and the government of Canada. Making this one of the biggest issues that face minorities, specifically Indigenous women. 

14 year old Mary (Molly) Martin, missing since August 13th

Black Transgender Women

Another one of the issues that are facing minority women in 2020 is happening towards Black trans women. Violence against black trans women is more common than you might think. A lot of the time, these women are murdered and if they’re not murdered, they’re essentially forced into poverty, sex work, and are even beaten in the middle of the street.

Here’s some context via Complex News

When it comes to Black trans women, a lot of justification for violence occurs. Instagram model Eden the doll as well as her two friends were beaten in the middle of a North Hollywood street, and onlookers seen in video evidence just laughed. The justification of violence doesn’t just end at being beaten but is also used to justify gun violence against black women. For example, after the altercation where Tory Lanez shot Meg Thee Stallion, a non-trans black woman, people online (whether it’s TikTok or twitter) justified her being shot by the simple fact that they thought that she was trans. Whether she was trans or not, should not be a justifiable reason for gun violence.

Not only this but, Black trans women seem to never find a safe haven. They aren’t accepted in their own community, face more violence than any other trans/ gender non-conforming person, and aren’t accepted into the gay rights movement, even with gay rights activists like Marsha P. Johnson. 

Marsha P. Johnson

One of the main issues I notice when it comes to the violence and aggression against Black trans women is that what they are facing is not being broadcasted. The reason why this is such an issue is that it appears as if these women are actively being erased from society by everyone else. They are continuously pushed down and silenced and because their issues are not an active part of “society’s issues”, they then face even more violence. 

Cis Black Women

When it comes to Black women, they face an onslaught of racism/ discrimination as well as a large amount of stereotyping. With the recent Black Lives Matter movement we see specifically Black women being at the forefront of the conversation. yet, they still face even more than most women everyday.

Stereotyping of black women is extremely common and in some cases is used to justify interactions that these women have. For example, for years, black women have been portrayed as being “aggressive,” “confrontational,” “ratchet,” and “violent”, when in reality that simply isn’t the case. In the instance of walking around in a store, the label of “shoplifter” is placed on them and the questioning authority is extremely difficult.

Angry Black Woman by Tracy Ellis

We have black women, who the minute they speak about any real concern, a label is immediately put onto them. Again, with the Meg thee Stallion and Tory Lanez confrontation, people justified her being shot on the pure fact that she “could have provoked him”. Meaning there was no proof, and even if she did provoke him it justified gun violence. Another example would be how tennis player Serena Williams was portrayed as in the media after questioning the a referee in a match.

Not only do Black women face discrimination from other races but they receive colourist discrimination as well. Lighter skinned women are seen as being more ideal and in a way are valued more than darker skinned women. These women are constantly feeling as if they are the second choice, because that’s how society views them as being.

Black women also are known for not receiving the justice that they deserve. Take Breonna Taylor. This woman was killed in the confines of her own him and still to this day the officers that killed her have not been charged with murder.

Black women are noticeably fighting the most, and receiving the least. They deserve better. They fight for not just themselves but for groups around them, groups that hold internalized racism towards them.

Muslim Women

When it comes to Muslim women, Islamophobia is very common, and very much normalized in today’s society. However, it doesn’t justify Islamophobia or any aggression that Muslim women are presented. From the media (news, tv, and film), community-wide aggression, and typical stereotypes, Muslim women go through battles in their everyday life.

Many know the Shukri Abdi case but if you’re not aware, she was a 12-year-old Somalian, Muslim child that was drowned by her peers. However, there are also more local variations of Islamophobia that exist every day. Whether it’s more extreme like the ripping of the hijab or internalized aggression towards Islam itself.

Islamophobia is widespread in the West and because Muslim women, specifically hijabi women, are outwardly practicing their faith, they receive the onslaught of hate crimes and violence. 

And it isn’t just the violence, the amount of stereotyping that occurs in the media is bizarre. Two extremely popular Netflix shows display Muslim women as being a) a “terrorist” and b) “oppressed”. Netflix TV show, “Bodyguard” portrayed a hijabi woman hiding in a train with a bomb strapped on to her while the protagonist comes in to save her while the show “Elite” portrays a hijabi girl who takes off her hijab because she is “oppressed” and feels the need to take it off for a boy to be attracted to her.

Another thing is when it comes to Muslim women in media, we never see Black, Hispanic, Asian, or white Muslims. It’s continuously shown as the Arab, tan-skinned foreigner as being the Muslim, when in reality that isn’t what most Muslim women look like.

When it comes to minority women, there are so many other groups to discuss. For one there’s the “fox eye trend” which plays on Asian stereotypes and disregards the amount of aggression Asian women received in the past. Not only Asian women, but there’s also the lack of proper representation for Hispanic women. Continuously we see them either being portrayed as the more “passive” and “virginal” character while in other moments they are seen as the “promiscuous” and similar to a “trophy wife”. 

If we sum it up, lack of representation, harmful stereotypes, and a blind naivety can be given as the reasons why a lot of these women face battles for who they are. But right now I don’t think that being “naive” is a good enough reason anymore. In fact, I don’t think it’s a viable reason at all. Continuously we push aside the battles that minority women go through, claiming that they are no different to non-minority women, or men, for that matter. In reality, the more we continue to deny the lack of care that is given towards these groups, the harder it is for progress, real progress, to actually happen. Every time I think about this topic, I think about the infamous Dolores Umbridge quote “Progress for the sake of progress must be discouraged”, and to me when I hear that, it’s eerily similar to deniers of the mistreatment minority women go through. AKA don’t be a Dolores Umbridge, no one wants to be her. Minority women face many battles and until there is widespread acceptance of that fact, which there isn’t in 2020, mistreatment towards a multitude of groups of women will continue to happen.

I know for a fact that I didn’t cover half of the issues that minority women face in 2020, meaning there is definitely a lot for work, research and actual progress to be done. Focusing on major issues, however, is always a good step. But I want to ask you a question; What do you hope 2021 will look like for minority women? And what can we do collectively to make that image a reality?

About the Author

Hello!! I’m a first year Psychology major at UAlberta. I love putting my voice out there and being able to advocate or open up a dialogue about anything I’m passionate about. I’m so excited to create and work on new pieces that (I hope!!) you will all enjoy. Some of my hobbies are creating new Spotify albums and Pinterest boards while watching any docu series I can get my hands on.